Originally published on: April 11, 2008
Parenting and child bearing has never being an easy task at all. Ask any experienced parent and the answer would be kind of, “oh no…it wasn’t easy at all”. This is because, the role of being a parent calls for continuous and tireless efforts of not only being the sole provider but also of taking all the necessary safe measures in any environment that a child is likely to be exposed to. This can start from the bedding room, sitting rooms, kitchens, toilets, bathrooms and anywhere that you think your child is likely to reach.
As a parent, sometime you have to anticipate your child’s movement and prepare the ground before he or she can reach that particular place. In other words, you should always be on the alert and cautious, by doing so, at least you are reducing the chances of your child being caught up in any hazardous situation. We have heard cases of children been left unattended and drowned in swimming pools, burnt themselves in kitchens, falling in the bathrooms and breaking some parts of their delicate bodies and most dangerously, mistaking some poisonous liquids like, detergents and medicines for something sweet that can be eaten. All these are common scenarios that to a great extent proved to be very frustrating and heartbreaking on the parents’ side.
Some think the child is doing this out of stubbornness, but in reality, the child is only doing that out of curiosity of trying to explore his or her new present world. That is why, children are always interested in touching things, which they are not aware that are dangerous or might be broken in the process.
That is why, the current situation calls for an urgent need of taking curtain measures whenever having children in the house. If you haven’t considered changing your house in a way that would accommodate your children’s lifestyles, then better do it now. Change the environment to make sure that your home is still a safe and creative place for your children to play and explore. Also think about the environment when you’re out and about for example in the car, walking around, or with a pram or stroller.
For instance your changes should be reflected in the kitchen too by turning all saucepan handles towards the back of the stove when cooking. This would stop them from reaching the saucepan handles.
Tablecloths should be replaced with place mats that are harder to pull off the table or put plates straight on the table. Sharp things such as knives, scissors, spoons and graters should all be safely kept in the drawer with a childproof lock or in a higher level that is out of reach or at the back of a bench.
Store food processors and blenders out of reach when not in use. If they must stay on the bench, unplug them turn switches off at the walls.
Keep all household cleaners out of reach and out of sight all the time. Put a childproof lock on your storage cabinet. Keep cleaners in original containers, rather than pouring them into used lemonade, juice or beer bottles – otherwise children might think they’re something nice to drink.
Throw out cleaning products when you don’t need them any more. Try safer cleaners: a mixture of vinegar and bicarbonate of soda can clean many surfaces. Keep dishwashing powder and liquid sealed in childproof containers, as these can cause serious mouth burns.
Add dishwasher liquids and powders after you’ve stacked the dishes. Close the door immediately. When emptying the machine, wipe away any remaining powder or liquid. Items which can poison include: oven cleaner, detergents for the dishwasher and the sink, spray cleaners, such as window and bench sprays, cream cleaners, liquid cleaners, such as floor cleaners, ammonia, rat and insect poisons, alcohol, floor polish, kerosene, baby-bottle cleaners, disinfectants, rat and insect poisons, matches.
Your child will be safest if you accept that child-proofing is always a work in progress: as your child grows and learns to climb and open things, look for any new hazards that are suddenly within reach.
While around the house tie plastic bags in knots after you’ve emptied them and store them out of the way – your child will be much less likely to unknot a bag and put it over his head. Dispose of all plastic wrapping as soon as possible. Make sure all plastic is removed from cot and bassinette mattresses.
Keep all cords out of reach of toddlers and move chairs away from blinds so toddlers can’t climb up to reach cords – it’s quite easy for a small child to hang himself on a blind cord. You can fit blinds without cords, and curtains with rods instead of cords. If you have blinds with cords, wrap the cords in a cleat attached to the wall at least 1600 mm above floor level. Wrap any remaining curtain cord around the cleat.
Choose foil balloons because rubber balloons pop more easily and can be inhaled with short ribbons no longer than 30 cm. Any longer and the ribbon could wrap around your child’s neck.
Put child-resistant locks on any airtight boxes a child could climb into, including freezers. If a child closes himself in an airtight box he could suffocate without you knowing.
Always remember that, if kids have a creative place to play and explore, with lots of interesting things to do and look at, they are less likely to seek their own stimulation by exploring areas that you might not want them to investigate. So it is always good to supply them with enough toys that would always keep them busy and occupied.